Data has become essential to marketing today, but the most important aspect of data-driven marketing is how it helps brands deliver value to customers.
That’s according to Christy Marble, who is the CMO of Pantheon, a WebOps SaaS platform. In his own words, Marble’s job is “to spearhead the growth of the company by bringing Pantheon to people who are inspired to harness the values of the open web to impact the world.”
Marble and her team drive the go-to-market programs that bring the company’s vision to life and delight customers at every stage of the customer journey. Finding innovative ways to connect and engage customers through data-driven insights is a big part of her daily job.
We asked him to explain how data has reshaped marketing and how brands can use it to better engage audiences.
Are marketers too preoccupied with analytics?
No. The most important analyzes give us insight into the needs, experience and value of our customers. These are the people who interact with our marketing activities.
When they voluntarily share information about themselves, it is our responsibility as marketers to honor that by using that information to continually improve the value we provide to them.
We earn trust, advocacy, and business results when we authentically apply insights to understand our consumers so well that we can predict and deliver an extraordinary experience.
For example, I have been traveling a lot lately. I recently got a good deal at a hotel that was being renovated. I am a member of their loyalty program so I took the risk.
When I arrived there were signs in the lobby asking guests to excuse any disturbances due to construction. While I was there I didn’t feel any difference in the experience. I had a great stay, the staff were lovely and the hotel met my needs.
After my stay, they emailed an NPS survey request. I don’t always finish them, but this time I did. I gave them the best scores they got.
The hotel manager responded with a very nice note, expressing his appreciation for my comments and telling me that they would share it with their wider staff. Imitation is the purest form of flattery, so I passed on this thank you note to my Hall of Fame team.
It was a great example of using information to deliver an amazing experience. I willingly shared information and the brand responded with an experience that made me feel good about being their customer.
Perhaps we should think about the return on human investment: HROI. This means using our analytics in a way that makes people feel good about their interactions with us.
Where does the disappearance of browser cookies leave data-driven marketing?
Some brands treat consumer data with respect and respect customer privacy. These are the companies that welcome privacy regulations and were early adopters of GDPR because customer experience is at the heart of their values.
For people in companies like these, these changes in the industry provide an opportunity to differentiate themselves and rise above the noise.
In the age of digital marketing, the brand experience and the consumer experience are intrinsically linked.
Buyers continue to prefer anonymous and non-anonymous research – to try things before they buy. The rise of product-led growth is a prime example.
The best digital marketing brands focus on the shopping experience. They strive to reduce friction in the process by anticipating likely questions and needs before the customer knows they have them.
These marketers perform champion-challenger testing of different journeys for different people to learn and deliver the right content at the right time. It’s not once and for all, but continuous process improvement by marketers, designers and web engineers who wake up every day excited to improve the experience of people who interact with our brands.
One thing our team recently tested and tweaked is our chat experience. How do you discreetly interrogate and then quickly guide people to what they’re looking for? “God, I wish there was a quick video explaining this” or “I’d like to ask a client.” Let us provide you with a video or introduce you to our customer forum where you can ask an expert.
How can CMOs ensure that creativity and human connection are at the heart of their data-driven efforts?
The role of the CMO has truly expanded over the past decade with responsibility for leadership priorities, business performance, market creation, martech and webtech stacks, context change and prioritization can be difficult.
But above all, our companies need us to represent the voice of the customer. What has worked for me is to keep it simple: think. To feel. Do.
We like to have fun and think of really bold ideas. When people feel good about the interaction, they feel included, they feel valued, and they want to tell others about it. They want to share this experience for you. And this is the ultimate marketing victory.
How does your background in social psychology shape your work as a CMO?
Growing up, my mom and aunt were social workers, and a lot of our dinner conversations revolved around human issues. My undergraduate degree is also in sociology.
I’m fascinated by the way people think, the way people act, and the things that fulfill them and give them purpose. This deep curiosity drew me to marketing, and that suits me perfectly.
There’s quite a bit of research involved in both sociology and marketing, asking why and making and challenging assumptions. Although the connection to cloud technology is not immediately apparent, it is actually very congruent.
Indeed, the best SaaS solutions disrupt the way people think and do things. It shapes my work as a CMO. As a CMO, I love the challenge of helping people see and experience new ways of doing things.
Which brands succeed in marrying creativity and data-driven marketing?
I looked at the chef. It is a private leadership network for women executives. They know their audience well and target them effectively. Their marketing content offers value, which makes me feel like their product is likely to do the same.
Their current campaign is simple, yet effective using social advocacy, customer advocacy, potential influencer marketing, and lots of customer advocacy and referral marketing.
One of the customer defense elements of their campaign is the selfies posted on LinkedIn by each new member. They share their gratitude for being accepted into Chief, while wearing the distinctive forest green sweatshirts with a gold Chief wordmark embroidered intricately on the front. (Each new member receives a sweatshirt in their onboarding kit.)
This is a great example of goal-oriented marketing. It honors the brand purpose and brings value to the customer in every interaction, before and after choosing the product. Great data-driven marketing continues to deliver value even after the deal is signed.
This applies to B2B, B2C, and partner-focused marketing. We all interact with humans. These are the people who buy our products and services. These are the people who use our products and services.
This interview has been edited and condensed. For more insights from the leaders in marketing, subscribe to our free newsletter.